Ultimate Guide to Food Packaging Design

In this article on the 99 Designs website, writer Jennifer Bailey outlines a process for designing food packaging. Below we summarise this post and offer relevant Dollard Packaging advice also.

She lists 3 questions to ask before starting the design process:

  • What is my Product?
  • Who is the ideal customer for this Product, including looking at other products these ideal customers buy.
  • How would describe this Product if it was a person? This allows you to crystallise the brand personality.

Design Considerations

Typeface – the typeface you choose can say a lot about the product, typeface is a “language” in its own right.

Colour palette – according to colour psychology, each colour conveys a feeling so it is important to decide what feeling you are trying to convey

Illustration and Graphic Design Styles – illustrations and graphics is a brilliant way to add style and personality to your product, according to the author and adding charming characters to the design is becoming popular also

Package shape and form – there are many options here e.g.  plastic-lined cardboard box, a plastic pouch, a jar or the classic tin which will be dictated by the product type itself, its lifecycle and the target audience. It is important to consider

Dollard Packaging advice:

  • Carton Structure: it is very important that you begin the project by consulting your carton manufacturer before you consult your graphic designer. This may seem counterintuitive, however, the most important initial issue regarding packaging is the structure of the carton or sleeve, not the artwork creation. The structure and the proposed cartonboard must be tested and approved before you approach a graphic designer looking for artwork creation. You can read more about this in our blog on Carton Structure for Packaging
  • Materials: given the worldwide consumer concern over climate change, it is advisable to choose a form of packaging that can be manufactured from sustainable materials.
  • Product/Package Lifecycle: always think through the lifecycle of the product/packaging before making decisions re the form of the packaging. Our Carton Lifecycle Questionnaire will help guide you through this.


All parts of the packaging will need to be considered – primary, secondary and tertiary packaging. Ensure that the packaging:

  • Protects the food from heat/cold, light and humidity
  • Protects the food from being damaged during storage or transit
  • Doesn’t react with the food

Where possible, avoid plastic and choose a sustainable material but avoid unfounded claims about sustainability i.e., eco-washing.  Explore if a zero-waste approach is possible, e.g., one company that makes potato chips reuse the potato peelings as a cone to hold the chips.

Check out this blog on Sustainable Board

Printing and Manufacturing

In this section, the author advises that 3 things need to be examined

Legal Requirements

Lastly, the author advises that checking out all the legal requirements re labelling before creating the artwork. These will differ for each country and may cover elements such as, name of the food, ingredients list, allergens list, net quantity, storage information, best before date etc

Dollard Packaging advice: Best before dates

If the packaging will have a variable best before/use by dates printed onto it, ensure that the area where it will appear is left unvarnished and not coated with any finishing material that would prevent the best before/use by date being applied.

You can read the original article here.